BBC BLOGS - dot.Rory
« Previous | Main | Next »

Cameron: The first iPM?

Rory Cellan-Jones | 09:44 UK time, Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The man standing on a step in his back garden seemed passionate about the internet and what it could do for his country. Addressing a collection of chief executives, some civil servants and a scattering of new web users, he promised to give Britain the fastest, best broadband network in the world.

David Cameron and Jeremy HuntSo is David Cameron the first prime minister who really gets the internet? Or was he, to quote a former Conservative PM, "inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity" when meeting so many digital types in one place?

The event in the Downing Street garden was the launch of Martha Lane Fox's Manifesto for a Networked Nation with its audacious promise to get the whole of the UK workforce online by the time Mr Cameron has to face the electorate again.

First, the PM met several members of Ms Lane Fox's Digital Task Force, people who've learned to use the internet in recent years. They sat around the cabinet table telling him their inspiring stories. People like Emilyn Hutchinson, who started using a computer at a shelter for the homeless when she was 17 and is now studying for a degree, or Jackie Seer, who set up an online community support network for people living on her estate in West London.

Then his techie credentials were burnished by his Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt who told the guests that the PM was the proud owner not only of a blackberry but an Apple iPad - Mr Cameron later confirmed that he sits surfing on the iPad via a wireless network in his Downing Street flat, while watching television. But even Mr Hunt may have been a little taken aback by his boss's subsequent promise to take Britain right to the top of the world broadband league.

The government's recent pledge to deliver the fastest broadband in Europe - which I compared to taking West Ham to the top of the Premiership in five years - already looked a bit of a stretch. Now, apparently we are going to go speeding past South Korea - according to a recent speech by Jeremy Hunt, the UK is currently ranked 33rd in the world when it comes to broadband speed, with an average that is nearly five times slower than that in South Korea.

This Thursday the culture secretary has summoned Britain's major telecoms businesses to an event where they will thrash Britain's broadband future. On the agenda are two pressing matters - first, delivering the minimum 2Mbps coverage promised across the country by 2012, then working out how to build a next-generation network of super-fast broadband which will reach the third of the country that the market will probably ignore.

The broadband suppliers are already sucking their teeth about the cost of laying fibre to every farm - and warning ministers that it will cost more than the few hundred million pounds that they have budgeted. Now it seems the PM wants them to show that Britain can be a world champion.

I have just done a quick search through the BBC web archive and came up with this article from 10 years ago. The prime minister then said he wanted the entire population using the web by 2005, promised that Britain would lead the world in e-commerce, and that all government services would be delivered online.

Now David Cameron does seem a lot more at ease with technology than Tony Blair ever did. But before we decide that he's our first iPM, let's see where we stand in the world broadband league a few years from now.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Cameron's gov as the former gov completely miss the mark on digital. From Gordon's bizarre YouTube video to Dave's videochatting Zuckerberg and announcing Facebook as a "primary" communication channel, they just don't get it.

    The Government needs to be aggressive on things that actually matter. Working on open platforms for open data. Facebook is not an open platform, it's something closed and born out of an elite university (like our government).

    Promise what you want on broadband speeds, I've heard it all and I'm still stuck on just under 1mbps ADSL in my semirural area (my neighbours are still ISDN) and I expect to be for a while yet.

  • Comment number 2.

    I won't believe any promises any Prime Minister makes about broadband until it's actually put into effect. I get less than 1mbps and have been for many years. According to BT, we aren't in FTTC trials either, so it doesn't look like our internet speed will be increasing anytime soon.

    I'm not holding my breath.

  • Comment number 3.

    It's a utopian ideal . . . but we can't even deliver digital TV and radio services to parts of the country, and our mobile network is frankly non-existent in many areas.

    Digital TV/radio/mobile phone services don't need cabling to be run. They face other technical challenges, but they don't necessitate the same physical upheaval that getting fast broadband to the whole country would entail.

    Think that in another 10 years you'll be digging out this blog and pointing to another unfulfilled promise.

    Nortel were working on delivering the internet over the existing power lines . . . using an existing network would certainly make things easier, though would not bring the speeds we are all going to demand in the future.

  • Comment number 4.

    Whilst I applaud the government for trying to get better broadband for those of us who already have it, I do feel they are missing the point.

    The point being that not everyone has access to it.

    This point takes into account both those that cannot afford to even have basic internet packages when living in cities/towns and those in the areas where broadband is just not possible.

    Unless the government wish to sort things out so that even the low paid/elderly/unemployed/disabled etc. can afford a broadband connection in the home with a PC I think they should stay well out of this arena and focus on ways to make the majority of the population more wealthy, not just themselves.

  • Comment number 5.

    For these promises to come to fruition there would have to be incentives for ISPs to do this; the incentives would be forced upon them - an Act of Parliament (I can't imagine that) or they would financial inducements - tax payers' money (can't imagine this gov't throwing money at private companies either; whatever happened to competition?). In a world of private enterprise, ISPs have no incentive to provide superfast broadband access to everybody.

    Where are the details behind this promise?

    Or perhaps it is simply a wonderful ideal wrapped in a vote winner for minorities and those geographically disadvantaged, those in rural areas, from the rich to the poor.

  • Comment number 6.

    Super-fast broadband for everyone – and for free?

    If the costs are just going to be passed onto the consumer (Upgrade! Upgrade!) many won’t bother / be able to afford.

    Given the current austerity programme I also take it the Govt won’t be pouring the necessary billions into this either.

  • Comment number 7.

    Attempts to get more people online are admirable, but you have to ask why these people aren't already online. It can be affordability as Broadband is often free with Landlines (TalkTalk & others) or PayTV (Sky & Virgin)

    So what are the Government going to do?

    there are no details at all surrounding this, it just sounds like a big hullabaloo of an 'aim' but nothing specific.

    Are the Gov going to aid companies to invest the billions needed in the infrastructure like the US & Australian Governments? No, they're going to mess around a with a couple of hundred million which won't even be enough to form a committee much less the £20bn (ish) needed to give the UK the kind of Broadband Cameron visions

    I use the internet for work and average around 14hrs a day online, (and would consider myself a core user) but my unreliable speeds & sometimes availability is a real issue.

    I really can't see the point in making 2mb broadband universally available - it carries a huge cost and would there would be repeat costs in bringing ADSL Max then ADSL2+ and then Fibre to the people not already covered by the infrastructure - Why not cut out all the unnecessary upgrading costs and go straight to fibre... It would cost far less in the mid & long term.

  • Comment number 8.

    Conservatives and their private sector allies always find a way for governments to pay for their infrastructure. Most welfare is to the private sector. Don't listen to what they say, look at what they do. Taxpayers will pay for the better technology that will be sold to them by private providers..all justified in some way that sounds like a boost for the economy but is really just underwriting of private enterprise by the taxpayer. The banks are charging the governments interest on the taxpayer money they have been given so this is right in line with keeping private business funded with taxpayer monies.

  • Comment number 9.

    It is good that the Government is doing something about broadband, because companies like BT are never going to invest in places where it is not commercially viable. It is the Government's job to make sure that these companies do invest or we could end up stuck as we currently are for a long time to come otherwise.

  • Comment number 10.

    Its no good having superfast broadband if the buildings around us are falling apart because we can't even afford a tin of paint. This government really needs to focus on the basics in these tough times - is being able to download a MP3 track slightly faster than they can in Spain really that important?

  • Comment number 11.

    2 Meg for everyonw? I will believe that when I see it!

    We are semi-rural and enjoy 512k! 2 Meg would be fantastic, how the hell will he pay for it though?

  • Comment number 12.

    The reason why many homes in South Korea has very high bandwidth is because many people live in tower blocks, so the infrastructure is localised and therefore cheap and easy to introduce.

    That scenario is completely different to the UK where most people live in distributed accomodation (i.e. houses).

  • Comment number 13.

    Not really a right-wing ideal, but if iDave wants us to have the technology then perhaps the thing to do is set up a government-owned company to install all the fibre, then charge BT and other telcos to use it, a bit like OpenReach does with the BT network. When putting together the legislation, include a right of access to existing cable infrastructure to minimise the number of new holes to dig, and another clause preventing the network from being sold off until at least after the government has recovered our money plus a bit of profit.

  • Comment number 14.

    Here in rural West Sussex we get 16Mbps broadband courtesy of a small wireless company that uses well-tried and tested technology that has been in use in the US and Australia for some time. We also get 10Mbps uploads, which in my business is vital. BT can provide about 500Kbps down and about 250kbps up. In Crawley and Portsmouth, the same company, Kijoma, is delivering a consistent 28Mbps.

    I wrote an article about the company for my magazine and shared it with the minister Ed Vaizey. He said the company owner would be invited to the July 15th symposium. Nothing happened. I know this because the organisers sent an email to me by mistake, telling me there was not enough room for everyone...his officials obviously sent the email to the wrong address.

    It's incredibly frustrating - there are thousands of square miles of the UK that could be served by wireless, without the need for fibre or digging up the roads. ADSL and fibre are obviously very important, but this form of wireless broadband (do not confuse it with the old and much discredited MESH systems of old) can plug the gaping countryside areas brilliantly, at low cost, and open up run down business parks that languish for want of a decent connection.

    If you read this, Rory, get in touch and I'll send you the article. It's a very good tale... [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 15.

    Being critical 'the first PM to get the internet' ? Realistically there's only been three that could be said of. In '97 when Blair came to power the internet was just beginning to take off. I used netscape and remember having to do everything before 1pm when the americans started logging on and everything ground to a halt.

    Personally I find Cameron's endorsement of all things internet as cringing as Blair's 'Cool Brittania' phase. He's probably have a big party in no 10 and invite Steve Jobs and Bill Gates next week.

  • Comment number 16.

    @ #3 Nortel also had the ability to put fibre optic cable into high pressure pipelines which British Gas looked at for their then telecoms operation 186k.

    'Dave' doesn't get the Internet. He has a clear case of 'politician-itis' of promising something that sounds great but has no clear idea (and funding) for achieving it.

    The trouble with people like 'Dave' though is that he will only persuade the private sector to cough for this if there's something in it for them..being underwritten by the taxpayer, lenient legislation so that they can corporatise the Internet and make a truck load of money.

    I liked the analogy of taking West Ham to the top of the premiership though because the (relatively) new owners of West Ham know a thing or two about business and prudence and fiscal responsibility are their watchwords right now, not 'investment'.

    @ #10 this whole thing is also not about downloading an MP3 track quicker. This taps into competitive advantage at a national level which is something this country needs, as well as commercial opportunities intra-nationally. Nationwide broadband is a red-herring though. There will be an i-literate underclass and unless the net is considered a universal utility like the telephone then the economic arguments against national coverage are fair in these 'austere' times.

    i think 'Dave' gets the net a bit more than you.

  • Comment number 17.

    To agree with #16:

    #10 Its FAR more that downloading an MP3 track quicker:

    I use the internet a lot to search for potential targets for cancer therapies. It requires pretty heavy processing power to access databases in the US (have you any idea how big the human genome is!!!!) . The internet is a powerful commercial tool, not just entertainment. In fact its increasingly getting to the point where scientific data can only be submitted on-line for journal publication. You do not want to be sending 100s of MB's of illustration and data down a 512K line.

  • Comment number 18.

    "Then his techie credentials were burnished by his Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt who told the guests that the PM was the proud owner not only of a blackberry but an Apple iPad"

    Ownership of these devices is a sign of a fondness for shiny, but fairly useless gadgets and the corporate behemoths that create them. So he's no different from the previous incumbents, except that they seemed to prefer to cosy up to Microsoft.

    As for championing the ludicrous Martha Lane Fox and her quango, well, what a waste of taxpayers money, not to mention how deeply ironic it is for this axe-wielding government to be backing a quango of any sort.

  • Comment number 19.

    If the Prime Minister is in favour of improving the internet infrastructure of this country, why was he so opposed to the broadband tax?

  • Comment number 20.

    Tony Blair could not use a computer and from that came the NHS computer system to be delivered in 2 years - this always was crackpot but our wonderful civil service lacked the integrity to say NO and resign.

    1. Can David Cameron actually use a PC?
    2. Does David Cameron use his own PC every day?
    3. Would he recognise a database if it go up and bit him?

    We really ought to know! (In fact all politicians who make decisions over IT should have to prove that they themselves have some idea what they are talking about!)

    We are still beset by amateurs who will not take profession advice when it comes to IT systems - the change of Government has made not difference to that.

    It is the duty of the professional qualified IT people in the Civil Service to stand up and be counted and resign if necessary when bad and technically ignorant and incompetent decisions are made by Civil Servants or Ministers. Not to do so should be cause to chuck them out of the BCS and strip them of their Chartered Information Technology Practitioner status! Professional information engineering standards MUST be adhered to.

  • Comment number 21.

    "Then his techie credentials were burnished by his Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt who told the guests that the PM was the proud owner not only of a blackberry but an Apple iPad"

    Bought himself or with expenses? If on expenses perhaps he can explain why WE'VE bought him two gadgets with basically duplicate functions? I can understand how Prescott might need two loo seats but an iPad and a Blackberry seems excessive.

  • Comment number 22.

    15. At 2:25pm on 13 Jul 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    Being critical 'the first PM to get the internet' ? Realistically there's only been three that could be said of. In '97 when Blair came to power the internet was just beginning to take off. I used netscape and remember having to do everything before 1pm when the americans started logging on and everything ground to a halt.

    Personally I find Cameron's endorsement of all things internet as cringing as Blair's 'Cool Brittania' phase. He's probably have a big party in no 10 and invite Steve Jobs and Bill Gates next week.



    Bill who?

  • Comment number 23.

    #20 "We really ought to know! (In fact all politicians who make decisions over IT should have to prove that they themselves have some idea what they are talking about!)"

    Why IT? Personally I'm far more concerned with Camerons lack of knowledge of defense issues (highlighted by some of the stupid things he said about the need for helicopters while in opposition). I presume he has no formal medical qualifications either yet created chaos in the NHS by suddenly deciding to scrap all the PCT's and have GP's play at being accountants yesterday. Compared to that whether or not he uses a PC daily seems of minimal relevance.

  • Comment number 24.

    19. At 3:41pm on 13 Jul 2010, Phil wrote:

    If the Prime Minister is in favour of improving the internet infrastructure of this country, why was he so opposed to the broadband tax?


    When he realises that government, can not afford/will not pay for higher broadband speeds, then I think the broadband tax will come alive again.

  • Comment number 25.

    I refer the honourable gentleman to the answer I gave a moment ago:

    How is Government supposed to deliver online only services when it is slashing it's e-communications budgets.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/rorycellanjones/2010/06/bonfire_of_the_websites.html

    This government (including Martha Lane Fox who was also Labour's digital champion in case you forgot http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8227867.stm) has no idea about how to solve the problem without extra funding.

    I guess this will all be farmed out to the Big IT contractors who have exemplary track records in delivering radical IT Projects on time and on budget!!

    CONDem = Fail!!

  • Comment number 26.

    It's either some in the media or his press officers who are looking to place that label on the PM. It's certainly not something he's doing willingly, or something he's comfortable with.

    Does the public want him to be an iPM? They probably don't care!

  • Comment number 27.

    The move to fibre should start in the places that don't already have decent broadband, otherwise the gap between the those on slow/narrowband (i.e. dial-up/low speed ADSL) and everyone else is just going to increase - Virgin are talking about 100-200 Mbps by the time the rest of us get the promised (possibly already inadequate) 2 Mbps in 2012.

    The bar needs to be set higher. Broadband should have a universal service provision like telephone lines.

  • Comment number 28.

    3. At 10:34am on 13 Jul 2010, MacHiavelli wrote:

    Nortel were working on delivering the internet over the existing power lines . . . using an existing network would certainly make things easier, though would not bring the speeds we are all going to demand in the future."

    That can't work. Power lines are basically huge aerials. So, start putting data over those and you end up polluting the radio bandwidth available. (Just as putting data over domestic wiring can trash Wifi connectivity)

    Putting fibre to remote houses is hard at the moment because fibre currently has to go underground, unlike telephone or electrical cables. Feeding it through sewers will help, but lots of houses aren't connected to the sewer network either (for the same reason), or have mains water or gas.

    If you're going to force the installation of fibre to every house, then surely you need to be looking at putting mains water to every house first... (I know several houses that get decent ADSL around here, but don't have mains water or gas. We do have mains water, but no sewage connection and get 6Mbps ADSL from an 8Mbps exchange)

    So, (as far as I can see) the realistic options are - radio/microwave/satellite links, xDSL over copper, find some way to be able to string fibre between poles, or some way to be able to lay fibre on the ground without it being damaged.

  • Comment number 29.

    #23. Peter_Sym wrote:

    "Why IT? Personally I'm far more concerned with Cameron's lack of knowledge of ..."

    Yes. But it would matter less if they sought and took advice from those that know what they are talking about - which of course they don't.

    It is partly down to us. We elect them and set them up as all powerful. We believed their blandishments and untruths and ignorant half-truths. Then they believed in themselves because they were elected to do x, no matter how stupid and irrational and illogical those in the business know from experience x to be.

    (For example: see reorganising the health service without the systems to manage the new reorganised system, without piloting it and without finding out if the new management structure contains the skill set to actually do the job! - quite insane, and it wasn't even in the manifesto!!!!)

  • Comment number 30.

    Look, lets stop buggering about.
    It will cost about 35 Billion to get fibre to EVERY home, business etc..
    I reckon private companies would stump up about a third of that if the government put in the rest.
    I know we are bankrupt but IF ONY Mr Cameron (Who I voted for) had the forsight to just say, "sod it, let's do it" we would get the money back in about 4 years. After this we WOULD be world leaders.
    Dave, just do it and stop being a pussy.
    Just think of the empty roads and reduction in polution as more and more people could work from home.
    With 100 Meg you could have 10 PC's browsing, 3 on YouTube, 4 TV channels and 17 phone calls..... all at the same time!!!
    This Country would rule..... they wont do it though.....

  • Comment number 31.

    Perhaps Mr Hunt could start by getting all the mobile providers to deliver a consistent signal in those parts of the UK with a high population. For example T-mobile cannot deliver a consistent signal round the M25 while O2 fails to have a consistent signal in a "small town in Oxfordshire just 2 miles from the M40.

    With such gaps in mobile coverage, how do the Government think these inept telecom behemoths have a chance to meet their aspirations. With some of the most expensive and slowest mobile and broadband services in the EU Government should be forcing them to:

    + Combine their mast infrastructure into a common companie used by all - it is green and efficient

    + reduce costs of mobile delivery to the levels of India in 3yrs by outsourcing and automation

    + Enhance the speeds and efficient of their dongle provision

    + Encourage the creation of "local Telcos" using WAN technoologies to serve their communities and drive local revenue

    Until the likes of BT, Oraneg and O2 "get with the program" this Government stands no chance of achieving its aspirations.

  • Comment number 32.

    Hang on, why do we need to invest in 100MBps fibre for farms in Lincolnshire and hamlets in Snowdonia again? For rural business parks, I get that, but don't bother laying fibre everywhere. Investment should be concentrated on providing a super-fast broadband network to cities, towns and more rural places of infrastructural importance like Felixstowe.

    2MBps is more than enough to do most domestic and home office tasks on the internet anyway, and villages that want superfast broadband have so far shown a remarkable tenacity in procuring it well ahead of cities, towns, even technological testbed areas.

  • Comment number 33.

    #30. Andrew wrote:

    "With 100 Meg you could have 10 PC's browsing, 3 on YouTube, 4 TV channels and 17 phone calls..... all at the same time!!!"

    I am afraid there are many many technical errors in your statement.

    1. 100 Meg on a shared network, as the ADSL system is at the moment with between 20 and 50 others sharing the network capacity will not provide 100 Meg to everyone all the time.

    2. It is quite easy to saturate 1000 Meg (let alone 100 Meg!) network systems when doing, for example, back-ups from just one PC and a Server.

    3. You don't say how many simultaneous users you are talking about - my guess is that you think that all of these applications could coexist simultaneously - if that is the case you are banking mad. As no only do you need clients but you need server capacity and backbone capacity for everyone's data to be delivered and travel simultaneously. No one will or can pay for the server capacity or the switch and backbone capacity to run such a system it is simply physically impossible.

    4. Try these sums:
    Households 25 million
    everyone on line (you choose 34 people lest say 3.4 per household) so
    2.5 million simultaneous 100 meg connections
    = 2.5 x 10^14 bits per sec of data needs to be served over the network and through the switches and say about half that from servers somewhere

    = 2.5 x 10^13 bytes per second (assuming 10 bit per byte to take into account both unicode 16 bit bytes and 8 bit ansi bytes?)
    Quite apart from the impossibility to deliver this over limited capacity fibre networks the switches needed and servers would require more electricity to run than we have installed capacity and the heat does not bear thinking about!

    This alone would require exabytes (10^18) of on-line storage and petabytes (10^15) of server and switch capacity. Say half a million, perhaps a million dedicated servers each using about a kilowatt of power or a total of a giga watt and the same for the switches so 2 GW (UK maximum capacity is the order of 63 GW) The less efficient home end would use perhaps the same or more so what you are asking is that we use 10% of the total UK generating capacity for the internet - daft!

    etc...

    Get a life, switch the gadgets off and take part in the real world and meet and greet real people before your legs atrophy!

  • Comment number 34.

    I use the internet as part of my work every day and I'd be happy to stay on my current speed of 10Mb for quite a few years. I just want my upload to be the same. At the moment, I'm lucky if I get half of 1Mb upload.

  • Comment number 35.

    I'm sceptical, based in part on my knowledge of Martha Lane-Fox's e-credentials. Yes she co-founded lastminute.com, an online trail-blazer.

    But in truth, like much of the eCommerce boom, lastminute.com was built on very shaky foundations, it was built on tenuous technical infrastructure, always first to market regardless of security.

    But it never made a profit - Ms Lane-Fox and Brent Hoberman sold the firm before the true numbers were realised; and a succession of different owners have bought and sold the business without actually seeing a trading profit.

    I'd much rather have a digital policy driven by somebody who has made the online economy work in the longer term, rather than taking the money and running.

  • Comment number 36.

    Why not cut BBC funding by 50% and use the money to fund broadband?

  • Comment number 37.

    I find it interesting that the Government wants to be more in touch with technology. Yet so many of their websites, particularly for the Treasury use HTTP as opposed to a more secure protocol.

    How can the government even propose more advanced technological processes and system, when they fail to implement a simple IT safe measure like HTTPS

  • Comment number 38.

    Why doesn't the government cash in on the high selling price of copper wire and replace it all for fibre now! Doing it now would probably half or at least quarter the cost and reduce copper wiring theft at the same time.

  • Comment number 39.

    #36.gordonsglovepuppet wrote:

    "Why not cut BBC funding by 50% and use the money to fund broadband?"

    Ignoring the tongue in your cheek!

    Try this answer:

    Because broadcasting a signal that many people want to receive at the same time is technologically hugely more efficient as a way of moving information about! Watching the same TV programme at the same time over the internet is technologically diabolically less efficient than broadcasting it over the airways.

  • Comment number 40.

    re 24# I see today that the Minister for 'Culture' has in effect said that now George Orsborne has canceled the 50p tax on phone bills we can't afford it. No doubt in Cameron's DIY state following Rutland will be the only answer.

    Lets invite Ms Lane-Fox to be honest and to quit now. After all this is the 'Age of Austerity' and we can't afford her even as a fig leaf since we can't afford to do what she his supposed to be advising on.

  • Comment number 41.

    re #28 you can sling fibre optic "cable" from poles the same way as telephone wires, this is done extensively in the US and Japan.

    The issue is an economic one - what is the business case for 100M speeds ? In cable broadband areas less than 2% of Virgin's customers opt to pay extra for 50M over 20M and 10M speeds.

  • Comment number 42.

    I think a lot of people are ignoring one major factor in all this. It's all well and good getting broadband to all these places, but isn't this assuming that they all have computers in the first place. I live extremely close to the local BT exchange so I'm very happy with my broadband, but I'm also an engineering student and use my broadband every single day as I spend most of my time at home rather than on campus due to the fact that I'm a single parent. I live on an estate where there are many such single parents and small families, most of whom are of an age or even younger than I am (I'm 32), yet if I sit outside my house I can only receive a signal my own wireless, but if I'm at a colleagues house in a more affluent area, I receive no less than 15 different wireless signals. Only one of my neighbours owns a computer and her 18yo son will be taking that with him when he goes to university in September. Another of my neighbours relies on a computer-at the local library-for work yet when I was forced to use it on one occasion when my computer was being repaired, I found the software so out of date (IE6 and Office 2000!) and it took so long to do anything, I was so glad to have my own back.

    What I'm really getting at is the fact that before rolling out superfast broadband everywhere, let's make sure there are people who are going to benefit from it.

  • Comment number 43.

    @20

    You write:

    "It is the duty of the professional qualified IT people in the Civil Service to stand up and be counted and resign if necessary when bad and technically ignorant and incompetent decisions are made by Civil Servants or Ministers. Not to do so should be cause to chuck them out of the BCS and strip them of their Chartered Information Technology Practitioner status! Professional information engineering standards MUST be adhered to."

    I am not a Civil Servant, but a Professional member of the BCS, and have read the professional Code of Conduct which says nothing of the sort.

    To paraphrase, if you disagree with what your boss tells you on technical grounds you:

    1: Have an obligation to point out your objections

    2: Have an obligation to DO WHATEVER YOUR BOSS TELLS YOU TO if your objections are overruled.

    I am unable to find anything that suggests that resignation is called for - you could, however, interpret the second part to mean quite the opposite!

    Mark Harrison

 

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.